Former Rainbow Warrior great, Amy Atwell, had a considerably eventful couple months since graduation in the the spring. Following her record setting senior season with the University of Hawai’i, Atwell was drafted into the WNBA in the 3rd round by the LA Sparks. She is just the second wahine player to be selected in the WNBA draft.
“The last couple of weeks I’ve had more a chance to sit down and be like ‘wow, that is everything I achieved in the last twelve months,” Atwell told KHON2’s Alan Hoshida at a summer workout back on the islands, “The draft was two weeks later, so it was getting prepared and then I was off [to LA] two days later after the draft. It’s been kind of crazy, one thing after another. The last couple of weeks have definitely been good to kind of chill out a little bit, get some offseason training in, and soak in everything that has happened the last couple of months.”
The sharp shooter’s time with the Sparks only last a handful of games before being released in early June, but she was still able to check a couple of career milestones off her list – starting a WNBA game, and scoring her first professional points.
“The physicality was kind of a shock to the system the first couple of days training camp. My legs were just kind of gone, but once I got my legs underneath me, definitely adapted, just the physicality and the contact was definitely a jump up from college.”
“At that level, it’s your 9-5 [job]. You’re getting paid to put the ball in the hole, so everything you do that day…you wake up, you go work out, you come home to eat lunch, you go work out again. It was definitely a new experience but something I really loved, kind of learned what it takes to get to that level and what it takes to stay there now. I’m just as hungry to get back and going to do everything I can to get back there.”
Hawaii’s all-time 3-point queen has already landed on her feet, signing a one-year deal to return home and play professionally in Australia’s WNBL. Her family and friends could not be more excited. After having to travel thousands of miles to see Amy play at UH, the Lynx play less than 20 minutes from her family’s home in Perth.
“The stadium is 10 or 15 minutes away from my house. It was an unreal experience for them to reach out and be like ‘we want you’ and then for it all to work out. The out pour of support from everyone back home is super excited. My family, my grandparents, everyone was super excited for me to come home for a good chunk of time for the first time in six years, but I’m just excited to be able to play in front of friends and family.”
“When I told mum, I expected her to be a little more excited, but at that point in fairness, I had told her that it was them and a few other teams that talked to me. She was kind of like ‘okay, why are you still thinking about it. Perth is the obvious choice.’ My grandparents are super excited, my dad, and my sister was really excited for me to be coming home.”
Atwell remembers when she would go to the Bendat Basketball Centre to she her favorite players on the hardwood. It’s where her love of the game developed. Now, in just a couple months, she will be the local star coming home to inspire the next generation of girls.
“Definitely, I remember going to the games. Back then, it was the West Coast Waves not the Perth Lynx, but I remember going to their games with a couple of my junior teammates and we would sit up there. We would wait till after the game in the tunnel for some of the players to walk out and stuff like that, so it’s definitely kind of full circle.”